The Ravens have a chance to jump out to an early lead in the AFC North with a third road victory against a division rival.
Here are my thoughts on Sunday's Week 5 game in Pittsburgh, all in 50 words or less:
It's time for Lamar Jackson's Pittsburgh moment. Think of all the ones Joe Flacco had, each seemingly serving as a building block in this rivalry. When you're going to be a Raven for a long time, as Jackson is, beating the Steelers is part of the deal.
Jackson hasn't played his best in three starts versus Pittsburgh. He's aware. He won there in 2019, but it was Marlon Humphrey's punchout that set up Justin Tucker's overtime winner. Jackson came close in 2021, but a two-point conversion to Mark Andrews fell incomplete. I think Lamar gets over the hump.
It's been a long time since the Ravens were relatively healthy playing against the Steelers, which has been a major reason why the Steelers won five of the last six. Jackson missed both meetings against them last year and one the previous year. And he wasn't the only one. Finally.
Looking at each team's roster, it's clear the Ravens have the upper hand. The stats show it too with Pittsburgh entering 29th in total offense and 30th in total defense entering this game. With that said, the Steelers (like the Ravens) thrive in the underdog role and blowouts are rare.
Has the Ravens-Steelers rivalry lost some of its juice? Sure, when comparing it to the Suggs-Lewis-Roethlisberger-Ward days. But those days are loooong gone. I think it has a chance to ramp back up with Roquan Smith being a central figure. The Steelers do have a Porter back these days too.
Veteran Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson seemed to toss out the only barb of the week, calling rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers a “munchkin.” I don't think that's going to move the needle here in Baltimore. Flowers may even laugh about it. I Don’t think the Steelers will rattle him come Sunday.
Cornerbacks and pass rush were the two biggest concerns coming into the season. The corners have held up well without Humphrey and the Ravens had the fourth-most sacks in the league entering the week with eight different players getting some of the action. Kudos to the players and Mike Macdonald.
Could Todd Monken's offense be building up to the big plays? In the first weeks of training camp, there were a lot of short passes. Over time, it opened up. Perhaps Monken is building Jackson's confidence in the offense with a high completion rate with more shots to come.
Morgan Moses' streak of 134 straight games played (all but one as a starter) is impressive. He must have played through injuries countless times. Moses is a great leader and great player on the Ravens' offensive line. Signing Moses last offseason was one of the Ravens' best moves in recent years.
Speaking of great signings, bringing in Jadeveon Clowney is looking really good right now. Among one of the NFL's leaders in pressure rate, Clowney has been moved all over the formation by Macdonald to try to get good matchups. The Ravens will find some against Pittsburgh's banged-up offensive line.
We'll all be rooting for the Orioles as they kick off their playoff run this weekend. It's going to be one heck of an era in Baltimore sports, with the Orioles and Ravens both having young superstar players. Kids around the greater Baltimore area are going to be sports spoiled.